U.S.A. to Cohost ICC T20 WC 2024

Broward-cricket

Five US venues are set to stage around a third of the games at the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, which will be co-hosted by the West Indies.

The ICC this week announced that the US will host a major international cricket event for the first time when it stages the expanded competition in three years’ time.

Organisers have now confirmed that approximately two-thirds of the 55 matches will be held in the Caribbean. These will be played at 13 established international cricket grounds in the West Indies.

In the US, where the remaining one-third of the matches are likely to be played, there will be up to five venues. A spokesperson for USA Cricket said some of the venues are already ICC-approved for international cricket, some are under construction and some will be repurposed specifically to host World Cup matches.

The Central Broward Regional Park Stadium (pictured) in Lauderhill, Florida is the US’s only ICC-certified stadium and has hosted international matches and Caribbean Premier League T20 games. Other existing facilities include Moosa Stadium in Houston, BPL Cricket Ground in Chicago, Woodley Park in Los Angeles and the Indianapolis World Sports Park.

“All of the venues across both countries will be selected following a competitive tender process to be run over the coming months,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Paraag Marathe, USA Cricket’s chair, said the decision to stage the competition in the US will be a boost for the sport in a targeted emerging market and enhance the hopes of cricket being added to the schedule for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.

Marathe said: “A major event in 2024 will be the critical catalyst to improve facilities, develop a professional league, grow the fanbase and inspire public and corporate support,” said Marathe, who is president of 49ers Enterprises for the San Francisco 49ers and vice-chairman of Leeds United FC.

“Bringing 20 different nations together for the first time in what will be the biggest T20 World Cup of all time in 2024 is also the ideal showcase for the prospects of including cricket in the Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028 and leaving a legacy of facilities and public enthusiasm for the sport across America ahead of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.”

Organisers said they aim to deliver an event that will provide match-day experiences that “combine a Caribbean carnival with the best of American sportainment”. The tournament will also blend iconic West Indies grounds with new and developing venues that will leave a lasting cricket legacy in the US.

Iain Higgins, the outgoing chief executive of USA Cricket, said: “The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will be delivered in a way that has the potential to break attendance and broadcast viewership records and set a new benchmark for commercial success, staging matches in broadcast prime-time to audiences around the world and inviting new public and private partnerships from corporate America for the ICC and its members to develop over the next eight years of ICC event.”

A.B. de Villiers – Mr.360

A.B. de villiers,  Mr. 360  

Courtesy : timeofsports.com

South African star performer A.B. de villiers, announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on November 19, 2021. ABD, widely known as Mr. 360 degree, ended his 17 years cricket career where he played 114 tests, 228 ODIs, and 78 T20Is for South Africa.

In a statement released, De Villiers said: “It has been an incredible journey, but I have decided to retire from all cricket. Ever since the back yard matches with my older brothers, I have played the game with pure enjoyment and unbridled enthusiasm. Now, at the age of 37, that flame no longer burns so brightly,” the South African said.  “That’s the reality I must accept – and, even if it may seem sudden, that is why I am making this announcement today. I’ve had my time. Cricket has been exceptionally kind to me. 

“I’m going to be an RCBian for life. Every single person in the RCB set-up has become family to me. People come & go, but the spirit & the love we have for each other at RCB will always remain. I’ve become half Indian now & I’m proud of that.”

The cricket world watched with awe this sudden bid adieu from all forms of cricket by ABD, a great cricketer.  The bowlers will heave a sigh of relief on this announcement.

The face of innovation in modern cricket that Mr.360, ABD is associated with, either with the scoop over the wicket keeper’s head or inside out stroke, it was a pleasure to watch ABD’s stroke-making, an artistic encore. 

It was a nightmare for the bowlers to bowl to him.  A ubiquitous ABD is used to cart any bowler in any part of the ground.  Some of his shots were breathtaking chutzpah and enterprising.  

In his boyhood days, he was a fine rugby player, golfer and tennis player besides cricket.  Cricket is lucky to have such a fantastic player.

De Villiers made his international debut in the Test at St.George’s Park, Port Elizabeth in 2004 against England as an opener along with Dale Steyn, the speedster.

Then he moved to the middle order position where he batted and treated the bowlers with utter contempt. He has become a household name in the Rainbow country. He was one of the few batsmen who batted from No.1 to No.8 position.

Though runs were drying for him in a couple of years in 2006 & 2007, he blasted his way into reckoning in 2008 with an audacious century knock in Durban against Windies and from there he never looked back.

His exemplary batting in 2008 saw the Proteas topple India, England and Australia in their own backyard.

First, he hit a masterly double century at Ahmedabad and South Africa inflicted an ignominy of Innings defeat and became the first Proteas player to hit a double whammy against India.

Then his scintillating 174 at Leeds against England helped South Africa to a first series win after their readmission.

His never-say-die spirit also helped a first series win against the Aussies after their hibernation with a well crafted century at Perth.

And a whopping 1061 runs to finish the year 2008 with his batting.

His career graph grew high in 2010 also almost a repeat of 2008, when he amassed 996 runs including an unbeaten mammoth 278 runs in Abu Dhabi in the Test against Pakistan.

He was blossoming into a great batsman of all time in the South African team.  

In 2013 he again hit a purple patch in Tests aggregating 933 runs which helped the Proteas to keep the Test mace with them claimed by them in 2012.

His ODI deeds were overwhelming as in a span of spreading over a decade from 2005 to 2018 his sublime performance with the willow blossomed.  

His fastest century ( off just 31 balls) and fastest half-century ( in 17 balls) in ODI were testimony to his batting prowess.

His sublime form in batting continued in ODIs also as in both 2011 WC ( he hit 2 centuries ) 2015 WC reached its peak was evident as 353 & 392 runs respectively and earned him the captaincy in 2015. He led the team admirably in 2015 when they reached the Semi-Final and were outplayed by the Kiwis team.

In T20 cricket his clean hit earned him laurels and accolades and was sought after by the different countries league teams including IPL.

His pyrotechnics in batting in T20 League format was a treat to our eyes.

His fielding was exceptionally good, especially in wicket keeping. 

He has been ranked among the top Test and ODI batsmen in the world and has established a cult-like following in T20 cricket, where his performances in the IPL have earned him a legion of Indian fans.

Unquestionably, with his ability to maneuver the field, his excellent hand-eye coordination, and his ability to cause the illusion that the bowler has bowled a poor ball, makes him a  revelation in the modern game.

His batting career illustrates his supremacy across formats.

Format      Matches   Runs        Hs      100s/50s       average

Test           114          8765           278          22                 50.66

ODI           228          9577           176          25                53.50

T20            340         9424           133            4 ( 50s)       37.24      

T20 WC 2021 FINAL PREVIEW

T20 WC 2021  PREVIEW

Courtesy : cricinfo.com

As the clock is ticking for a grand finale of T20 WC 2021 at Dubai on a Super Sunday ( though it’s Monday for both the Finalists at home) between Trans-Tasman rivals for the elusive T20WC title, let’s take a sneak preview of this summit clash.

44 matches with 16 teams competing before this final was an extraneous task and U.A.E. Cricket Associations have done extremely well in this cramped schedule after the IPL 2021.

This will be the first time in the T20 WC a new champion is going to emerge and that too from a Southern Hemisphere country.

Both the Finalists have upset the apple cart of the tournament’s favourites and entered the Finals in similar Semi-Final matches. 

Newzeland hurt the chances of England in the last four overs when James Neesham unleashed a string of mighty heaves in a cameo and the dour opener Daryl Mitchell gave the finishing touches to overwhelm England juggernaut and the unpredictable Aussies ( who entered the SF only with a better NRR) kicked out the most favourite team Pakistan at the hustings by cameo innings by hitherto unknown slog hitter in M. Wade in the company of another pinch hitter Marcus Stoinis.

This is New Zealand’s 3rd straight ICC Event Final in the recent past, whereas for the Aussies first since the 2015 World Cup.

Both the Finalists have entered into this tournament on a bumpy road as the Aussies were battered by Bangladesh by 4-1 including a humiliating 66 all out and in the Caribbean shores. And the Kiwis had their moments of a scare when they also lost the series in Bangladesh.

Australia depends heavily on their batting as their bowling unit is yet to come to terms in this tournament barring the leggie Adam Zampa  a la Shane Warne. And for the Kiwis, it’s their bowling cohesive unit headed by the pacers Tim Southee, Trent Boult and spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner.  In fact, the Kiwis bowlers are more economical in the tournament.

The players to look for –

David Warner who otherwise had a poor year battling for survival including IPL has a better strike rate of 148 .42 in this tournament only behind Jos Buttler.  So, he has to give a very good start.

Tim Southee, the Kiwi pacer who adapted well; and who took 1 wicket in each of the outings in this tournament is expected to play a major role along with pacer Boult

Adam Zampa, the leggie, who bowled well consistently in this tournament with figures of 2/21, 2/12, 1/37, 5/19, 1/20 AND 1/20 is expected to bamboozle the kiwis.

An interesting contest on the anvil at DUBAI.

T20 WORLD CUP – Aus Vs New Zealand

Matthew Wade helps Australia into the final to face New Zealand in Sunday’s final.

The underdogs have made it to the summit clash of T-20 World cup 2021 to be held on Super Sunday, much to the surprise of the onlookers, on 14th November at DUBAI hosted by India.

The much fancied ,hyped and touted as tournament favourites viz.,Pakistan and England leaders in their Groups to the knockout stage , were shown the door from the tournament and it will be a TRANS-TASMAN title clash.

Both the Semi Final clashes had their moments of anxiety and the unfancied teams crossing the finishing line in an identical scenario much to the chagrin of their opposition teams.

Both the finalists, Newzeland and Australia winning from nowhere and by unsung heroes.  If it was Daryl Mitchell and James Neesham for the Kiwis and for Kangaroos it was Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade.  Their heroics put pale of their experienced team mates’ performance into oblivion.

The Australian team was in complete disarray before the start of the tournament as their previous outings in this shortest format were very dismal losing out to Bangladesh the series including a 66 all out and also against the Windies  and their senior pros both in bowling and batting were in and out of the team and preferred to play IPL or sit out.  Their captain Aaron Finch was an uninspiring leader.

The  Blackcaps too lost their T20 series to Bangladesh before T20 WC as most of their senior players preferred not to go to Bangladesh and only a second rung team headed by Tom Latham represented.

So with this backdrop Newzeland and Australia entered the T20 WC and it was a bolt from the blue that they will play in the T20 WC  2021 Final.

In the first Semi-Final between England and New Zealand, it was Chris Woakes who opened the bowling for England with a brilliant spell including two prized wickets of Guptil and Captain Williamson, was treated with utter contempt by Daryl Mitchell, who opened the batting and stayed till the end to see the finishing line.  His breathtaking assault of 72 runs of 47 balls was well supported by Devon Conway ( 46 runs) and a cameo by the pinch hitter all-rounder James Neesham 27 of 11 balls including 3 mighty heaves over the rope.  The defining 3 overs were bowled by Jordan 23 runs.

In the other Semi-Final between Australia & Pakistan, it was Shaheen Afridi, the tournament’s best bowler, who opened the bowling attack in an incisive opening spell claiming the wicket of Aussies captain Aaron Finch for a golden duck, bore the brunt of massive hits of the Aussies wicket-keeper,M. Wade conceded as many as 22 runs including 3 mighty heaves that sealed the fate of the Pakistani team.  He bowled the penultimate over and the savage hitting by Wade after he got a reprieve from a dropped catch by Hasan Ali in the second ball of the over and Wade went on to hit 3 sixes and the entire stadium went into an eerie silence. And he in the company of Marcus Stoinis (who plummeted the Pakistani bowlers) hit 81 runs in just 40 balls and set up a victory for Aussies.  And Pakistani players were in an inconsolable mood as for the second time they have lost to Aussies in a SF in the T20 WC, the first being in 2010 WC when Mike Hussey dashed the hopes of the Pakistani team to make it to a final. 

Now a mouth-watering summit clash between two Trans-Tasman teams will usher in a new WC Champion as the title is eluding them till now. 

IPL 2021 CHAMPION

IPL 2021 CHAMPION -CSK

Courtesy:- Business-standard.com

“That was a great day. 100th IPL game, special day. I loved my time here at CSK, almost 10 years. No 4 in the IPL trophy cabinet is really good. Rutu is a special talent. Indian cricket is generally very blessed with young talents. Rutu has got a great head on his shoulders. He has got a great future”.

Man-of-the-Match Faf du Plessis (86 off 59 balls)

The former Proteas captain’s assertion is suffice to the CSK’s tinge of success as these two openers were the toast of the tournament as they compete and compliment each other.  In fact they  vied with each other to claim the top position  as they finished the first and second places in the list of highest number of runs of the tournament  viz., 635 and 633 runs as Rutu piped Faf at the post by a margin of just 2 runs.  Of course MVP award was snatched by Harshal Patel ( also Purple cap holder) of RCB with  his sterling performance with the cherry with 32 wickets, including the only HAT TRICK in this edition .

Dad’s Army did it again for the second time.  It was Shane Watson in 2018 and now it’s Faf du Plesis in 2021 for CSK  who held the innings till the end and was out only in the ultimate ball of the Innings. The CSK which was bruising its wound of last year finishing at the bottom of the table, turned the tables on this time and became victorious, lifting the coveted trophy.

The ethereal  Ruturaj Gaikwad ,   who was in sublime form,  with rare gem of beautiful  strokes along with  charm and timing went on to bag the Orange Cap with 635 runs.  And Faf in his own inimitable style hit a magnificent  86 runs and laid the foundation for a big score on the big stage as CSK could post 192/3 at the end.

CSK’s opening batters carved out a niche for themselves and they were ruthless as both Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf, the tournament’s best opening pair, once again put on 61 runs.  Incidentally,  this opening pair scored 53% of CSK’s runs in this tournament setting a new record for openers in IPL.  Then came  the sixers’ carnage from Robin Uthappa ( 3 sixes) and Moeen Ali ( 3 sixes) in the company of Faf , who also helped himself with 3 sixes,  CSK set a tantalisingly high score ( 192/3) for the finals .

MSD’s CSK lifted the coveted glittering IPL trophy 2021 for the fourth time in the IPL history in the Dubai International stadium. There were rambunctious celebrations as the players and support staff from the dugout ran to the centre of the ground. 

Courtesy : BCCI.tv

Dhoni, the epicentre of all this tamasha,  strolls past the centre casually even as the world around goes ecstatic in celebration. 300 T20s old as leader and he remains grounded, calm and composed as ever, and in the twilight of his career, he remains the King of the ring!

It was a reminiscence of the 2012 IPL final between the same opponents .  In 2012 there was  Manvinder Bisla who orchestrated the title win for KKR  chasing 191 runs at M.A.C. Stadium , Chennai.  This time around the opening pair of Venkatesh Iyer and Subhman Gill was threatening to take the game away from CSK as they put on 91 runs in a quickfire session until the “Lord “ Shardul Thakur’s double strike put the brakes and suddenly the adrenalin of CSK players came to the fore.  And from 91/1 became 125/8 as KKR were losing wickets in clusters.  The only vvv2012 KKR’s winning team duos Sunil Naraine and Shakib Al Hasan couldn’t shine with the bat and the other batters wilted under pressure including their Captain.  The KKR captain Eoin Morgan’s batting woes continued in the final also as his powerful pull found a fielder  near the ropes. Only a late cameo from Shivam Mavi delayed the proceedings of CSK’s march to the 4th IPL title.

The KKR which was in the 7th position in the table before the U.A.E. Leg came back strongly and set up a summit clash with the three times champion, CSK. 

KKR’s Openers gave a rousing start as the opening pair put on 90 runs and specially Venkatesh Iyer, the find of the tournament , was cutting loose before Shardul Thakur teased him with a nagging delivery and Iyer trying to dominate the bowlers was allured into slicing a wide delivery and the ball soared so high nearly to hit the spider camera and the athletic ebullient Jaddu running from sweeper cover nearly misjudged it but still managed to hold on the catch.  The No.1 threat was gone as Iyer walking back to the pavilion with a neat half century couldn’t conceal his disappointment. 

Then Nitish Rana, who was in horrible form with the bat and succumbed to a committed stroke, ballooned  a simple catch to Faf at mid-off.  And this double strike of Thakur deflated KKR’s hopes of a revival.  And suddenly the panic button was pressed into KKR’s quest for the 3rd title.  And Sunil Naraine’s extravagant stroke found the ever vigilant near the ropes, Jaddu to take a fantastic catch.  And the reticent opener Gill followed suit.  And though a late burst of sixers by Mavi helped by a wayward bowling of Thakur and Bravo was only delaying in the inevitable,  and couldn’t deny CSK a fourth title.  CSK won the match by 27 runs and lifted the glittering trophy with a purse of Rs.20 crores.

MORNE MORKEL- PROTEAS BLUE EYED BABY

MORNE MORKEL – PROTEAS BLUE EYED BABY

Morne Morkel cut his teeth at Easterns and rose to prominence in the 2006-07 season when he was picked for a Rest of South Africa side against the touring Indians.

A family of cricketers was a very good breeding ground for Morne.  His sibling Albie Morkel also played for South Africa in ODIs, T20 games.  His father Albert Morkel also played grade cricket for South Africa.

He spent 2007 trying to establish himself in international cricket and broke through the ranks of the Proteas team in 2008. Morkel was the joint leading wicket-taker on South Africa’s tour of England and played a key part in their first series win there since readmission. 

He was picked for South Africa’s tour to Australia in December 2008 on the basis of the form he displayed in county cricket, but to everyone’s dismay he flattered to deceive, dishing out some insipid bowling spells.

He was once again drafted into the squad for the World T20 in June 2009 in England, where he had moderate success before being overlooked for the Champions Trophy at home.

Morne honed the skill and returned the next year, after Makhaya Ntini’s retirement, to share the new ball with Dale Steyn, and had great success. He took Test 49 wickets in 2010, his highest in a calendar year. The following year he had ODI success, taking 26 wickets at 17.65 in three series 

Constant monitoring by Allan Donald did him a world of good. His ability to hit the deck hard and generate extra bounce at a searing pace has been amongst the primary reasons for his success. He has had his share of injury worries, but his gifted ability to extract awkward bounce from a length at good pace has meant that he has always been a part of the South African bowling attack.

He was a major cog in the wheel of the Proteas that dethroned England to claim the ICC’s Test mace for the first time and contributed more than he received recognition for. Morkel was the top wicket-taker on the 2012 tour to Australia, where South Africa successfully defended the No. 1 ranking. 

Morkel also enjoyed bragging rights over some of the world’s best batsmen. His bunnies were Michel Hussey and Andrew Strauss whom he has dismissed most times in Tests., viz., 9 times and 8 times respectively.

He was then picked for the home series against England, in which his match-winning spell with the ball on the first morning of the fourth Test at Wanderers proved to be decisive, going a long way in helping South Africa win the Test and level the series, thus preventing a complete humiliation at the hands of England, whom they had convincingly beaten on their previous tour in 2008.

After a lackluster 2009, Morkel had his best year in Tests to date. He went on to form a formidable combo with Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, arguably the best attack in the world for the next 2-3 years. Morkel played his 50th Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.

With regards to the IPL, after having little success with Rajasthan, he was picked up by Delhi in 2011 for USD 475,000. He had a moderate first season, where his team finished at the bottom. However, he went on to become the leading wicket-taker in 2012 with 25 sticks, finishing with the purple cap as well. During the 2014 auction, he was picked up by Kolkata.

Morkel finished as the leading wicket-taker for South Africa in the 2015 ODI World Cup.

In Feb.2018, Morne Morkel made a startling  decision to quit international cricket post Australia’s visit in February-April. He put the decision to retire down to a young family and a demanding international schedule.

Surrey have signed South African fast bowler Morne Morkel on a two-year Kolpak deal, in 2018. He had a very good stint with Surrey including the County side winning the County cup.

And now he’s part of BBL’s Brisbane Heat team of Australia.

Happy birthday Morne Morkel.

CRICKET IN ARABIAN DESERT

CRICKET  IN ARABIAN DESERT

Now, the 2nd phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021  is under way in U.A.E. played in 3 grounds, viz., Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah . Let’s trace the history of International cricket in the  Arabian Desert.  

Sharjah stadium  was the brainchild of the Arabian Business tycoon, Abdul Rahman Bukathir, who was the driving force of building an International cricket stadium at Sharjah, U.A.E. In fact Sharjah cricket Association has been one of the founding members of U.A.E. Cricket Association in 1971..

The sudden influx of expats and oil exploring companies in U.A.E.  saw the emergence of  many workers especially from the  Asian sub-continent employed there.  It was a workplace for them.  During the weekends, these expats used to  watch cricket and it continues now also.

The cricket  ground in Sharjah is in the midst of an industrial area and people use to peep in the evening whenever the floodlight is switched on and the cricket is played there. 

In 1976 a Pakistan International Airlines side –  which drew the big names of Pakistan cricket such as Wasim Bari, Majid Khan, and Sarfraz Nawaz – came over to play.  In fact that  was the precursor to the heady days ahead, although first a proper ground was required. Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, who was known as “ the father of cricket” in U.A.E. earmarked a plot of land by the Sharjah Sports Club and, with the advantage of having a construction company as part of his portfolio, set about building one.

INTERNATIONAL  CRICKET

The first ODI was played way back in 1984 in Sharjah, when Pakistan faced Sri Lanka . Pakistan had Zaheer Abbas as captain and Srilankan team was headed by the diminutive Duleep Mendis.  When Srilankan tigers prevailed over Pakistan and coasted to victory with consummate ease by 5 wickets.  Arjuna Ranatunga took 3 for 38 and Roy Dias made a match-winning 57. 

But it was a match in 1981  that marked the beginning of Sharjah’s international days, when a Sunil Gavaskar XI faced a Javed Miandad XI on an astroturf wicket which was won by Javed Miandad XI.  This match generated a lot of heat as so many expats were from India and Pakistan and they acted as the 12th man for the teams. Though not an official international, given what would develop over the next 20 years it was arguably one of the most significant cricket matches. It was played as the Hanif Mohammad and Asif Iqbal benefit match , a theme that would become central to Sharjah cricket through the creation of the Cricketers Benefit Fund Series, for which the driving force was Bukhatir, who wanted to give something back to long-serving players.

Sharjah cricket Stadium. Courtesy : cricinfo.com

“In the initial days it was sometimes scary,” Mazhar remembers. “We had our first match with 8000-10,000 people sitting on the temporary scaffolding.”

MEMORABLE MATCHES AT SHARJAH 

Of all the famous matches here played in a surcharged atmosphere, Sachin Tendulkar’s Desert storm in the hot summer of April 1998 stands out tall at Sharjah.  In the heat gathering storm, the Master blaster hit back to back centuries against the Aussies and helped India to win the Coco-Cola cup title .

Pakistan’s Javed Miandad’s final ball six in the Austral-Asia cup in 1986 when India’s  Chetan Sharma try to bowl a yorker when 4 runs were required in the final ball but the Pakistan’s fox converted that shot and sent the ball into the stadium stands for a 6 and won the final.

In 2002, the invincible Aussies inflicted a humiliating Innings defeat on Pakistan in both Tests played here including a 58 & 59 runs in the 2nd Test. It was Pakistan’s worst performance in Tests at Sharjah as the Test was over inside 2 days.

UNIQUE RECORD AT SHARJAH

Courtesy : cricinfo.com

A board conspicuously displayed at Sharjah International Cricket ground ( in U.A.E.) way back in 2015  it held the record of  hosting most  ODIs (218) which is a world record. And even today in 2021 it holds the record of hosting the most ODIs( 240).

TEST STATUS FOR SHARJAH

 By 2011 the ground was suitable for the return of Full Member sides. When Pakistan,which adopted U.A.E. as a second home, it played host to a Test with Srilanka. The “home” supporters were given a treat, as Shahid Afridi produced a magnificent all-round display, first hitting 75 off 65 balls to lift Pakistan from 97 for 6 and then claimed five wickets after Sri Lanka had been 155 for 3 chasing 201. Sharjah was back.

“The less famous part of the Sharjah story is its role as a Test venue: England became the fifth “visiting” nation to play there when the ground hosted its 8th Test in 2015. However, Sharjah was the original neutral venue in the UAE – before Dubai and Abu Dhabi had international grounds — when Pakistan needed a second home.

Till now Sharjah stadium has hosted 9 Tests for Pakistan out of which Pakistan won 4 tests and lost 4 tests.

Later on, the strife ridden Afghanistan has adopted Sharjah as its home ground and played T20I matches here

DUBAI INTERNATIONAL STADIUM

Photo courtesy : Dubai Sports city

Project details

  • Year 2008
  • Work started in 2006
  • Work finished in 2008
  • Contractor Dubai Sports City
  • Cost approx. € 75 Million
  • Status Completed works
  • Type Sports Centres / Stadiums / Sports Facilities

Photo courtesy : archilovers.com

The Dubai International stadium  is a  multi – purpose stadium, in DUBAI, U.A.E. . It is mainly used for  cricket. It has a capacity of 25,000 spectators, but is expandable to 30,000 spectators. It is a part of the DUBAI SPORTS city .

The Dubai Cricket Stadium was designed by the internationally renowned architects Gerkan, Marg and Partners, based in Germany. -The roof structure was constructed in a cross-vaulted style. Steel trusses were covered with a laminated PTFE membrane. The structure provides cover for all the seats in the arena and offers protection from the sun and wind. – The roof pitch meets today’s ICC standards. – The 82 seats for sports journalists and 7 commentator boxes meet the requirements of today’s media. – ALPINE constructed one of the most modern sports stadiums in the world in just 28 months. 

The Dubai International Stadium is lit by a special system of floodlights named “Ring of Fire”. The 350 floodlights are fixed around the circumference of its round roof, thereby minimizing the shadows of objects in the ground and having no light towers.

So far, 62 T20I matches have been staged at the venue. And Pakistan which has adopted as Home ground played 13 Tests and out of which 7 tests were won by them.  And this ground hosted 34 ODIs including Asia Cup and Tri-nation series in which the local U.A.E.  team participated and won the two games.

The stadium will be one of the dedicated venues for the  2021 ICC Men’s T20 WORLD CUP  and is scheduled to host the Semi Final 2 and the Final of the latter on November 11, 2021 and November 14, 2021 respectively.

Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi

Courtesy : sportstime.com

The Zayed Cricket Stadium was first opened in 2006. It is a picturesque venue and one of the largest stadiums in the world in terms of ground area. The biggest challenge for teams in Abu Dhabi will be the length of the boundary ropes. With most Indian grounds having smaller boundaries, power hitters will play a massive role in matches staged in Abu Dhabi.

There has only been one score of 200 or more made in a T20I in Abu Dhabi in the 45 matches played at the venue. The team batting second has won 25 of the 45 matches played here in international T20s.

Abu Dhabi has practice net facilities with 24 lanes adjacent to each other meaning that there will be no shortage of space for preparations for the teams. There are also two other ovals, all of which are of standards befitting first-class cricket, aside from the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

It has hosted 14 Tests  out of this 12 Tests for Pakistan and 2 Tests for Afghanistan.  It also hosted 52 ODIs and 48 T20Is.

It will also be hosting T20 World cup matches later this year.

HEADINGLEY TEST 2021 REVIEW

Courtesy : Reuters

GRAVITATE ROBINSON

Bizarre ! Losing wickets in a heap inside a session on the fourth day at Headingley was incredible.  That’s how Indian batsmen catapulted from a commanding position at 215/2 at the close of the 3rd day and crumbled under the feet of an incisive swing bowling spell from the English bowler.  The Terminator, Ollie Robinson, used the ammunition of the second new ball. 

It’s difficult to fathom a bowler, facing a dangling damocles sword on his head for a 5 match suspension in next two years for his boorish comments on his Twitter handle in his boyhood days which was haunting him, gave credence to his selection. . Those revelations surrounding Robinson are laced with a tinge of irony.  It didn’t deter his spirit as he went about his business and made a mark in the English bowling attack.

The adulation of the rival captain that he is a “real find”  and his own Captain’s assertion of”phenomenal”  are indications of what will be in store  for the tall and suave  Ollie Robinson, who had a rich haul of 5fer at Headingley which decisively took the game away from India as India nosedived to a meek surrender and lost the Test by an Innings & 76 runs. 

When India were sitting pretty at 215/2 at the close on the 3rd day with Chateshwar Pujara finding his form and Kohli playing a second fiddle to him.  It seemed India would bounce back in the second essay like a rear guard action of India way back in 1967 when the young captain Nawab of Pataudi did it here.  But alas, Indian fans’ expectations were belied as this young man in his fourth test dented India’s hope with his persistent line and length.  Ollie Robinson’s “ace up my sleeves” performance with the red cherry tormented Indian batsmen and they were clueless to face him with the second newball.

Robinson’s five scalps in the second Indian innings was breathtaking. His candid admission that he learnt tricks from the senior pro, GOAT, Jimmy Anderson about gripping the seam, cadence repeatable action and his ability to thump out an excellent, consistent, probing length. He also produced a knuckleball – changing his grip even as he gathered to deliver – which also demonstrated his  range of skills.

His 7 wicket haul in the Test also earned him the Player of the  match award and with 16 wickets he’s the leading wicket taker of the 5 match series of either side.

In fact  with his stock ball the one delivered with a wobble seam got Kohli who was circumspect around outside off stump  as the ball drifted and straightened as Kohli edged it in the slip cauldron and was held by his English counterpart.

Next in his armoury was the innocuous delivery which darts back into the batsmen.  He also moves the ball in both ways sometimes confuses the batsmen and Chateshwar Pujara’s case was a classic example.  Pujara padded up an outswinger which would have hit his off stump and was plumb in front of the wicket.  Then there was a pageantry show of Indian batsmen walking to the pavilion as Craig Overton, a doppelganger of the ace swimmer, Michael Phelps giving the finishing touches to Indian innings.

Robinson eulogises the services of Jon Lewis, the bowling coach whose methodical approach helped him to hone his skills.

Ollie Robinson grew up as a seam bowler bowling a variety of slow balls, seldom bowling offspin.  He was no rabbit with the bat.  In fact he was a power hitting lower order batsman.

Under the tutorship of bowling coach Jason Gillespie at Sussex he furthered his reputation as one of the new ball bowlers of Sussex.

On his debut against the visiting New Zeland a few months back at Lord’s he had a dream debut taking 7 wickets in the match and in just 4 Tests he had 23 wickets including two 5fers against the visiting Indians.

LORD’S TEST REVIEW 2021

England vs India 2nd Test, Day 5 Highlights: India Beat England By 151 Runs To Take 1-0 Series Lead

LORD’s TEST REVIEW-2021

Courtesy : ndtv.com

“The way we played in the second innings after being put under pressure – Jasprit and Shami were outstanding. We had the belief we can get them out in 60 overs. The tension in the field in our second innings, what happened there, helped us. Putting their hand up was something we were really proud of, and we wanted to let them know,” said Virat Kohli in the post-match presentation.

In hindsight  India’s victory at Lord’s yesterday  may flatter you that it was a facile victory at the Home of Cricket but It was a hard fought victory.  It was an Independence Day bonanza for India.

It was India’s tailender batsmen who got the victory for India with their bat and ball.

On the fourth day India was tottering at 181/6 with only Rishab Pant , the recognised batsman at the crease.

And soon England saw the back of Pant walking to the pavilion after he edged a delivery from Olie Robinson..   

And the Indian tailenders were exposed with just 157 runs lead.   And here Indian tailenders showed the grit and guts to stand up and challenge the England bowlers.  First Ishant Sharma who showed some resistance and batted for a while adding some useful runs.

Then came the unbroken 89 runs partnership for the 9th wicket between Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah  who hit  their career best  of 56 & 34 runs respectively and took the game away from England.  This wicket partnership was priceless. 

England lost the plot and the Indian tailender pair was piling on the agony of England players.  They were at their wits end.  The field placing was awful as both Shami and Bumrah were nudging singles and braces .

At 298/8 with a lead of 271 runs, the Indian captain declared the innings setting a tantalising total of 272 runs for England to chase in 60 overs.

England started the chase on a jarring note as both their openers were out for a duck and back in the pavilion.  And they lost another two wickets before tea was taken.

After tea, India’s champion bowler, who bowled horribly in the first innings bowled a beautiful outswinger and Joe Root’s defence only saw the ball lobbed into the waiting hands of his counterpart Kohli who grabbed it with both hands.  England’s main hope for the draw was gone.

And the situation would have been worse had the ever vigil  Kohli taken a catch from Buttler.  But the ball ballooned of his outstretched hands. Jos Buttler was just on 2 runs.  The lady luck smiled on England’s team.

Buttler and Moeen Ali batted with abundant caution for more than an hour.  But when Siraj came back for his second spell, he was highly motivated and straightaway stuck when his outswinger delivery saw Moeen edging it to Kohli at first slip.  And Sam Curran, who was on King pair, edged an outgoing delivery to keeper, Siraj was on cloud nine.  His double strike in the same over opened the gates for India to exploit the weaklink of England’s batting.

Then the obdurate pair of Buttler and Ollie Robinson saw their resistance and batted for almost an hour.   Time was running out for India.  Fortunately the light was not an issue.

Again the man of the hour stuck gold when his innocuous incoming delivery rapped on the left pad of Ollie Robinson.  The vociferous appeal by Indian players were not conceded by Umpire. Then Kohli immediately referred it to TV Umpire.  The TV Umpire stuck down the decision of the Umpire Richard Illingworth and asked him to reverse his original decision of Not Out.

So, England’s No.11 batsman James Anderson strolling to the wicket hanged around 2 balls of Siraj but his third ball saw it breached Anderson’s defence and he was bowled through the gates.  There was rambunctious celebration by Indians as they picked up the stumps as souvenirs for their victory.

India won by 151 runs and lead the 5 match series by 1-0 with 3 matches yet to be played.

Earlier put into bat under overcast conditions, India had a rousing start with Rohit Sharma going great guns hitting all over the park and K.L. Rahul played the second fiddle.  And after his exit at 126/1, it was K.L. Rahul who took control of the game played magnificently and hit a scintillating century ( 129 runs).  And India finished with 364 runs. And Jimmy Anderson finished with fifer and Ollie Robinson & Mark wood  also chipped in with couple of wickets each.

England with their captain Joe Root at his best piled up 391 runs with a masterful unbeaten by him ( 180*)  and Mohammed Siraj was the pick of the bowler with 4 wickets.

The Century by K.L. Rahul gave India strong foundation in the batting and also won him the Player of the Match award.

It was India’s 3rd win out of the 19 tests played here at the Home of Cricket. 

LORD’s TEST 2021 PREVIEW

LORD’S  TEST 2021  PREVIEW

Courtesy : Insidesports

INDIA -ENGLAND 2nd TEST

After nature played its game at Trent Bridge in the first test, the stage is set for yet another show at LORD’s , London tomorrow ( 12.8.2021).

The tame draw at Nottingham was cruel to India as they were sitting comfortably at 52/1 at the close of fourth day.  But the persistent rains prevented any play on the 5th day.   India brimming with that confidence in their ranks will try to keep that momentum in the second Test at Lord’s.

India started its Test cricket History at Lord’s way back in 1932 under the leadership of Col. C.K. Nayudu, suffered humiliating defeats at Lord’s , including India’s lowest score of 42 ( of course now 36 is their lowest score made  in Adelaide in 2020-21 ) in 1974 in the second innings. Until 1986 India couldn’t  muster a win  at Lord’s. 

In 1986 a spirited Indian team under the captaincy of India’s mercurial all rounder Kapil Dev won the Test series by 2-0 including  a win at Lord’s, thanks to all round performance of Kapil Dev.  Another win came in 2014 under Dhoni when Ishant Sharma & Bhuvnesh kumar made merry in bowling  and A. Rahane scored a century.

Though Lord’s is not a favourite hunting ground for India as they won only 2 times out of the 18 outings, but this time around India is capable of upsetting the applecart of England team as their bowling unit is raring to go at the opposition in full throttle as we have seen at Nottingham when England were skittled out just for 183 runs on the first day.

The injury scare is there for both teams with India missing Shardul Thakur who is nursing a calf muscle injury and both the senior pros of England bowling attack, Stuart Broad and James Anderson are doubtful starters for Lord’s Test.

For England their captain, Joe Root, one of the world’s best batsmen stood tall among the ruins at Trent Bridge. Sans Root, their batting unit is in shambles. Openers wobble and middle order is not firing and the tail didn’t wag as Bumrah cut them to size in both innings.  Now, with Moeen Ali , recalled from his THE HUNDRED tournament duties, may  replace the out of form Dan Lawrence.  And in the bowling department, two bowling spots up for grabs as the two senior pros are doubtful starters.  Mark Wood and Saqib Mahmood( who had a good outing in the shorter formats for England) may fill the void.

For India it will be a selection headache as to whether to include a fourth seamer or the spinner R. Ashwin in the playing XI. As Kohli prefers the template of 4 seamers and one spinner in England conditions, and in all likelihood Ishant Sharma will make the cut into the XI.  The batting performance of Indian team was good  despite the failure of the bigwigs,  viz., Pujara, Kohli and Rahane.  K.L. Rahul, fighting for his place in Tests, found his mojo and the indian tail wagged and put indian team in a commanding position at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.  So, there may not be any changes in batting line up. So, it’s advantage India at Lord’s. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.